Chile upgrades tsunami alert for coast, Easter Island

March 12, 2011 01:27

SANTIAGO - Chile on Friday upgraded a tsunami alert for its coastline and remote Easter Island territory after waves triggered by a massive earthquake in Japan hit Hawaii, and said it would evacuate flood-prone areas along the mainland coast.

Chile was hit by a magnitude 8.8 quake and ensuing tsunamis a year ago that hammered towns, roads and industries in south central Chile, killed more than 500 people and caused an estimated $30 billion hit to the economy between damaged infrastructure, property and lost productivity.

"The level of tsunami has been raised for Easter Island, where waves are now estimated at 3 meters (10 feet) rather than 2 meters (7 feet)," said Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter, adding the alert also applied to Chilean Antarctica.

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